The GoodRx Research Team has been tracking the flu this year by monitoring fills for Tamiflu (oseltamivir), the most common flu treatment. It seems as if we have reached the end of this season.
How many people are filling Tamiflu prescriptions?
During the week of March 23, 2020, Tamiflu fills accounted for 0.12% of all drugs filled in the U.S. This season, we officially reached fill rates that we saw in the 2017-2018 flu season, which was a notoriously bad year. But the flu season ended as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic swept across the U.S.
Which states had the most Tamiflu fills?
Even though Tamiflu rates are declining, most states are still seeing high flu-like activity according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, some states like Arizona, Florida, and Idaho are seeing low to moderate flu-like activity.
Though there is a flu vaccine available, Tamiflu is often prescribed if symptoms start to appear, which helps explain the recent surge in prescriptions. If taken within the first 48 hours of getting the flu, Tamiflu can work to block the actions of influenza in your body, and shorten the duration of the virus.
How to avoid getting the flu
Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself this flu season and beyond:
- Get the flu vaccine. Although it’s best to get the vaccine at the beginning of the flu season, you still have time. Also, a flu vaccine can help ease the severity and duration of the virus if you happen to get sick. You can get discounted, or even free, vaccines at some pharmacies. Read more about that here.
- Try preventative measures. Vitamin C and echinacea may not be effective at preventing the flu, but there are promising studies on zinc and elderberry. Read more about that here.
- Wash your hands. It works. Washing your hands is the best weapon against the flu virus.
- Visit your doctor immediately. When true flu symptoms hit, go to the doctor. The sooner you visit, the sooner you can get your prescription for an antiviral medication.
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Last updated: 3/31/2020
Co-contributors: Diane Li and Jeroen van Meijgaard, PhD
Methodology: Tamiflu prescription fill rate is based on a statistically significant sample of fills at U.S. pharmacies. Data comes from several sources, including pharmacies and insurers, and provides a representative sample of nationwide U.S. prescription drug volume.